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0 In csection/ postpartum/ pregnancy

8 tips for preparing for your c-section and recovery

Tips to prepare for your csection and recovery
This post is sponsored by Bio-Oil but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

If you know you are going to be having a c-section or in the event that you may need one, there are some things you can do ahead of time to prepare. I just had my second c-section a few months ago and this one was definitely smoother since I knew what to expect. Knowing how to prepare for your C-section and recovery can help make it less scary and help ease your recovery.

Here are 8 tips on how to prepare for your C-section and recovery.

1.) Have a discussion ahead of time with your OBGYN.

Have them explain the procedure in detail from start to finish. Being familiar with what is going to happen ahead of time can help alleviate any anxiety or fears you may have.

2.) Make your wishes known.

Even when a csection is necessary, it doesn’t have to take away from your birth experience. If there are special things that you want, talk about it with your provider. Many hospitals now have clear drapes or a drape with a window so that you can see when baby is born if you wish. Ask if someone in the operating room can take photos for you so that you can capture those moments. And if skin to skin is important to you, ask if you can do skin to skin in the OR as long as baby is healthy. You can still make the experience as special and memorable as possible.

8 tips for preparing for your c-section and recovery birth plan

3.) Be realistic about pain management

A c-section is major surgery. I will say it again. A c-section is major surgery. The idea that you will be pain free is unrealistic. Depending on the type of anesthesia you receive, usually your pain will be really well controlled for the first 18 or so hours, maybe more. I remember my first day post-op, I had no pain, I felt like a million bucks. I got up, took a shower, walked some laps around the unit. My nurse had offered me some pain medication throughout the day and I declined since I felt great. Later that night, once all of the visitors left and the adrenaline wore off, I was hurting. Don’t wait to take pain medication until your pain is unbearable because then it can be hard to keep up.

It’s normal to feel some burning or a pulling sensation around your incision as well as cramping. This is especially true if you are breastfeeding or pumping. That cramping or “afterpains” as they are called, are due to your uterus shrinking back down to its normal size.  If the cramping becomes unmanageable, try a warm pack or some over the counter pain medication.

4.) Bring comfortable clothes to wear postpartum.

I lived in these dresses throughout my recovery and still when I am just around the house . Not only were they loose and looked cute, but they were also great for nursing. You don’t want anything that is going to be binding around your abdomen. Check out my checklist of what to pack in your hospital bag here.

8 tips for preparing for your csection and recovery

5.) Get moving

It’s important to get up and moving soon after surgery. I remember that first time I get out of bed I felt like all of my organs were going to fall out of me and I was slow, but each time got easier. Light walking and moving around not only helps with healing, but also to get your bowels moving again after surgery and to help prevent blood clots. But with that being said, you just had major surgery. Listen to your body. If you get tired, rest. And use your bleeding as your guide. Sometimes when you get home and you start doing more you may notice that your bleeding picks up. This is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy.

8 tips for preparing for your c-section and recovery

6.) Prepare your home

You may need to make some minor adjustments to your routine when you get back home. First, you will need to limit your use of stairs. I mostly hung out on our first floor in the living room. In there, I created a little changing station with diapers, wipes, and extra clothes for baby in the pack and play.

I also found it difficult to sleep in bed for the first week or so since lying flat really pulled on my incision. Sleeping in a recliner was the only way I could get comfortable. And once I was back in bed, having a co-sleeper that you can pull right up beside you is great that way you can easily tend to baby.

7.) Nourish your body

It’s important to eat a healthy diet. Foods rich in protein, Vitamin A and C  are known to help with wound healing and repair. Also increase your dietary intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber. This will help keep your bowels regular. Be sure to drink plenty of water, even more so if you’re nursing.

8.) Accelerate healing

It takes time for your incision to heal. Keeping it clean and dry will help prevent any infection.  Once your incision has healed completely, Bio-Oil can also be helpful in reducing the appearance of your scar as well as any stretch marks from the pregnancy.  (You can read more about Bio-Oil in a post I previously published here.) I used Bio-Oil throughout my pregnancy to help keep the skin on my growing belly hydrated and to help reduce the appearance of any stretch marks. I have continued to use it twice daily and while it has not taken away my stretch marks, they are definitely less noticeable.

8 tips for preparing for your c-section and recovery help reduce stretch marks

 

Tips to prepare for your csection and recovery

 

0 In Motherhood/ pregnancy

Tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse

tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse

You’ve got the nursery organized, the carseat installed and your freezer stocked with freezer meals, but are you truly prepared for the birth of your baby? Preparing for the birth of your baby is an exciting time, but is also a time of information overload, and lots of emotions as well. As a labor and delivery nurse, one thing that I have learned is that each birth is different and unique, and there is no way to predict how things are going to go. Yet, there are some things that you can do to be prepared.

Here are some ways to prepare for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the birthing process. Education is key to helping dissolve any fears and build your confidence. The more you can become educated on the birthing process, the more comfortable you can become with what to expect. One topic that I find especially important for new mothers is to be familiar with the birthing process and the stages of labor. tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse
  2. Take some childbirth classes. Classes are a great way for you and your partner to learn different relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms to help you through labor. In addition, they are also a great way for your partner or support person to learn how they can best support you throughout the birthing process. There are many different kinds of classes from Lamaze, to the Bradley Method to Hypnobirthing. You can reach out to your obstetrician or midwife or the hospital in which you plan to give birth to see what classes they offer. Some classes even include a tour of the hospital or birthing center as well.tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse
  3. Create some sort of birth plan. As a labor and delivery nurse, I do remind women that birth may not always go the way they had planned, and at the end of the day, the best plan is a healthy mom and baby. But it’s a good idea to have some sort of idea as to what’s important to you and your partner and have a discussion ahead of time with your obstetrician or midwife. And most moms feel comfortable knowing that they have a plan in place should certain situations arise. When you check into the hospital, let your nurse know your wishes for example if you want delayed cord clamping, or skin to skin. But remember, the best plan is a healthy mom and healthy baby, however that should happen.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had envisioned going into labor naturally and having an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. However, at 37 weeks, I found myself being induced for high blood pressure and ultimately it ended in an emergency c-section. (You can read more about my birth story here). While it was not the way I had planned, at the end of the day, we were both healthy.

Even though I was a labor and delivery nurse and familiar with the different methods of induction, at the time being in that situation, I wasn’t thinking as a nurse.  I was a sleep deprived mom in that hospital bed and all of my clinical thinking and reasoning went out the window. However, had I had somewhat of a plan in place in the event that induction was necessary, I would have discussed with my provider the different cervical ripening methods and played a more active role in the decision making. In the end, the outcome wasn’t what I had envisioned, but both myself and baby were healthy and that was all that mattered.

 

tips for preparing for the birth of your baby from a labor and delivery nurse

While every birth plan may look different and certainly isn’t set in stone, education is the key to being prepared for your birth.

Click here to check out my post on what to pack in your hospital bag and get my free printable checklist

 

3 In Baby/ Motherhood/ pregnancy/ printables

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag
This post contains affiliate links meaning I make a small commission

If you’re searching for a hospital bag checklist, you’ve come to the right place! There are tons of similar posts floating around the internet with checklists, but being a labor and delivery nurse and a second time mama, I’m sharing what you really need to pack in your hospital bag!

I remember with my first babe, we got sent in for induction after our appointment at 37 weeks. I was in no way prepared so I literally threw everything in a bag and off we went to the hospital. I remember strolling in looking like we were going on a week’s long vacation. This time, I definitely plan to be more prepared and intentional with packing my hospital bag.

 

Here is the down and dirty of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag

from a Labor and Delivery Nurse:

Flip Flops – I love these Croc flip flops. They are so comfy for walking around, grip to your feet and can also be worn in the shower.

what to pack in your hospital bag - crocs flip flops

 

Comfortable dresses/nursing gowns – I’m all about the comfortable dresses and these are like all I wore last time. They’re easy for nursing, a loose, non-binding option for csection recovery mamas and a simple way to look a little more put together. I love this one from the Nesting Olive. I bought it in a few colors. I also love these 24/7 house dresses from Undercover Mama.

What you really need to pack in your Hospital bag - nursing dress

 

Yoga Pants – I like these ones from Target because they are loose fitting and stretchy (so great for csection mamas).

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - yoga pants

Nursing Tops – I love this three pack of nursing tops on Amazon

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing tops

Nursing bras – I got this three pack on Amazon. They are wirefree.

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing bras

Swaddle blankets – seriously you can never have enough. I got a few from Copper Pearl and I love them because they are big, soft and super stretchy. They also have lots of different, fun prints.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - swaddle blankets

Going home outfit for baby – Amazon has lots of cute ones. I like this one for a girl and this one for a boy.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - girl going home outfit

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boy going home outfit

Boppy – I loved having my Boppy with me at the hospital to help with breastfeeding. The lactation consultant was able to show me different positions that were comfortable post c-section.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boppy

Pillow – your own pillow. I know sometimes on L&D especially when we’re slammed we run short on pillows so I always tell people bring your own from home. That means dad or your support person too.

Diffuser – Not only is it nice to have going during labor, but also in postpartum for overall rest and relaxation.  I have mine that I use from Young Living but I like this one from Amazon as well. My favorites for sleep and relaxation are lavender and frankincense.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - diffuser

Phone charger – I have this extra long one from Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - extra long phone charger

Camera

Headbands/hairties – I found these cute ones with a bow on Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - headbands

Toiletries – Ok so the hospital does have some stuff but I’m a little particular. I got a cute cosmetic bag and hit the travel sized toiletry bins at Target and stocked up on everything I needed. Don’t forget the dry shampoo and chapstick!

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - dry shampoo

Pacifiers – some hospitals no longer provide them especially if they are Breastfeeding Friendly. So if you know you are going to want them, bring your own just in case.

 

Things that you don’t need to pack because the hospital will most likely provide to you:

– Underwear – the hospital will give you that sexy mesh kind so why pack your own?

– Pads/topical numbing sprays and creams/icepacks

– Non skid socks

– Gown to labor in (unless you want to wear your own but it’s most likely going to get covered in lots of fluids just saying)

– Diapers/wipes

– Nipple cream

– Onesies

– Breast pump – most hospitals have them for you to use during your stay but ask before you go.

 

Click here to download my printable checklist

 

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag printable checklist

 

 

5 In beauty/ pregnancy

My Must Have Beauty Product During Pregnancy

This post is sponsored by Bio-Oil but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Pregnancy is a time that brings about many skin changes for women, from dryness, to blemishes and stretch marks. I’m sharing my must have beauty product during pregnancy to help your skin look and feel it’s best.

I recently attended the Biggest Baby Shower Event in New York City hosted by Big City Moms. It was a great evening to discover some cool baby brands and products as well as a chance to connect with other expecting mamas.

My must have beauty product during pregnancy

While there, I visited the Bio-Oil booth. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bio-Oil, it’s the world’s leading product for scars and stretch marks and recommended by many dermatologists. In addition to helping with the appearance of scars and stretch marks, it’s also one of those beauty products that has multiple uses so you really get the most bang for your buck.

my must have beauty product during pregnancy

Bio-Oil can be used to:

  • Help improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks
  • Help improve the appearance of uneven skin tone that so often happens during pregnancy
  • Help reduce the look of aging skin
  • Help keep your skin hydrated

my must have beauty product during pregnancy

This pregnancy, as my bump has been growing and that skin has been stretching, my belly has been very itchy. I’ve been massaging a few drops of Bio-Oil on my skin as soon as I get out of the shower to help keep my skin hydrated and lock in that moisture. And I will definitely plan on using it postpartum to help my c-section scar heal as well.

My must have beauty product during pregnancy

I also love to use it as a makeup remover, to tame any fly-aways in my hair, add a few drops in the bathtub for a hydrating soak, and apply to dry cuticles and chapped lips.

How does it work?

Bio-Oil is composed of a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base. It contains the breakthrough ingredient PurCellin oil which makes it light and non-greasy and ensures that all of the beneficial plant extracts and vitamins are easily absorbed.

How should you use it?

It is recommended that you apply twice daily for three months. During pregnancy, they recommend starting use during your second trimester.

My Must have beauty product during pregnancy

You can head to any of your local stores to pick up some Bio-Oil to try yourself. And be on the lookout for a post later this summer featuring my review of the product.

 

My must have beauty product during pregnancy